information are key in the battle to fight poverty
Anisur Rahman Swapan
Participants of a procession and discussion progammes on Sunday in Barisal on occasion of observing International Right to Know Day said availability and accessibility of information promotes transparency, sustainable democracy, ensures better governance, legal rights and reduces poverty, corruption and inefficiency.
They also supported creating a culture of openness, encouraging governments to provide people with information said Bangladesh have adopted Right to Information (RTI) law and good on paper.
But it has been introduced as part of a top-down government reform plan and implementation has proved slow due absence of powerful pressure groups like civil societies and obstacles from civil and military bureaucracy, they observed.
The discussion programme was held at Ashwini Kumar Hall in the city jointly organized by Barisal district administration, unit of Sachetan Nagorik Committee (Conscious Citizen Committee/ CCC) as local organ of Transparency International (TIB), Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI).
Shohidul Alam, deputy commissioner Barisal presided over the discussion and among others Muhammad Gaus, divisional commissioner, Humayun Kabir, deputy inspector general of police Barisal range, Prof. M Moazzem Hussain, president Barisal CCC, Abu Yusuf Md. Rezaul Rahman, additional deputy commissioner, Manabendra Batobayal, Liton Bashar, journalists addressed the discussion.
The discussants highlighting why and how access to information can change lives and transform societies, said it benefits for citizens and for improved governance and to make a government more open and accountable to its people.
Information in the control of public authorities is a valuable public resource and public access to such information promotes greater transparency and accountability of those public authorities, speakers told.
Proper execution of RTI law gives effect to the right to information as part of the process of transforming a country from one with a closed and authoritarian government to one governed by and for the people under democratic process, they said.
The anti-corruption activists said the proper utilisations of right to know will serve as tools for obtaining information for use in fighting corruption resulting in reducing poverty. Because this right at least narrow the range of opportunities for the mismanagement and diversion of public funds by permitting public scrutiny of the administrative decision-making and expenditures.
The free flow of information among the public and the creation of an active civil society, would compel the government be held to account and to ensure that they serve all those that they govern, said the speakers.
The participants suggested for grass root level campaign and to establish more strong legal frameworks that protect the right for people to be able to access information.
Mentionable the decision to celebrate and promote September 28 as the International Right to Know Day was taken on the last day of a Freedom of Information litigation conference in 2002.
Edited By: Amader Barisal Desk